I will never appreciate not getting any channels on our television so much as I do in the weeks leading up to an election. It seems like those weeks are just one long political advertisement, a hodgepodge of misleading, false, and irrelevant information being spewed from one candidate about the other, and we didn't have to sit through any of it. I am sure there is a sigh of relief today among people who do watch t.v. on a regular basis, as they can sit down and watch their program of choice in relative peace.
Last night after dinner we bundled up the kids and brought them with us to our polling location so that Hey, Babe and I could cast our ballots. Before we left we considered each of us going one at a time so that we wouldn't have to bother with getting the kids into and out of their coats and carseats. It wasn't a long drive, so each of us going by ourselves wouldn't have been a long drawn out process and would probably have been the easier thing to do, but we decided against it.
This is the third year I have brought Little Man with me to vote. The previous years it was due to convenience, we were out and about and it made more sense to stop that moment rather than go later by myself. The reason we chose this year to go against convenience and bring them with us is because I feel that it is important to vote. In our country's history, many years and lives were spent ensuring that we would all have the opportunity to voice our opinion about our representatives.
Too many people exercise their right to laziness, their right to remain ignorant over the issues and candidates, their right to not vote. It is unfortunate. Many of those people may argue that none of the candidates were worth voting for, or that it doesn't really make a difference, or that none of the candidates represents them, but the only way for that to change is to do something about it. Vote in the people whom you feel are most likely to do it right. If they fail, try again the following year, or run for an office yourself!
Every year until the kids are old enough to chose to stay home, I plan on bringing them with us to vote. It is a teachable moment in their lives. Even Little Man at two years old was asking questions about what we were doing, and so we explained it to him in as simple a manner as we could. We each brought him into the booth with us and allowed him to press the correct selections and help us cast our ballot. They don't get it now, Little Man still wants to know about the "Boat" we were going to and the Storm Sprite for all she knows never left the house last night since she slept through the entire thing. As they get older we will be able to show them how we go about selecting the person whom we feel will best represents us. Eventually they are going to be adults and who need to choose between getting home and relaxing after work or stopping and waiting in line to vote first. I hope that by bringing them with us we can instill in them the importance of not only voicing their opinion, but making the effort to ensure it is an educated opinion.
Perhaps I am optimistic. Maybe the people who don't vote are right in saying that the whole system and all of the politicians are corrupt, so voting can't and won't change anything. But if we don't vote we will never know. The difference between voting with the hope of making an impact and not voting because you are certain that you can't, is that those who do go out and vote actually have a chance at succeeding in their attempt. Those that don't vote may never be proven wrong in their supposition, but they are dooming themselves to the same results either way.